The impact COVID-19 has had on the care sector is profound with the virus having been a huge health concern for vulnerable people with complex care needs. Many people with complex health and social needs are at high risk of complications associated with the infection so the social distancing measures that were introduced have proved to be particularly difficult for people who depend on care services.
Whilst many people turned to Zoom calls and other online social solutions throughout periods of lockdown and social distancing, this was only made possible for many people with complex health and social needs with the support and guidance of their care team.
The complex care sector has had to adjust how it provides care, with the following actions being some of the most effective ways to handle the challenges that COVID-19 has presented:
Following the most up-to-date government guidance
The UK government has produced a large volume of resources to help the care sector to work through some of the biggest issues faced by complex care providers due to COVID-19. The guidance also includes information regarding minimising risk, and how IPC measures, PPE and testing should be applied in supported living environments.
The gov.uk website includes guidance for supported living, which has been regularly updated throughout the various stages of the health pandemic: COVID-19: Guidance for supported living
It is important to keep up to date with the information and support provided by the government, as this is being updated all of the time.
Alternative ways of connecting
With social contact being so restricted, finding alternative ways for social connection has helped people to feel less isolated. Video calls to loved ones who are unable to visit are a positive solution, along with the growing popularity of online communities and clubs. As lockdown restrictions have eased, meeting up with groups in safe environments, such as outdoors in a park is now an option.
It has also been important for people working in the care sector to stay connected with other people who faced similar challenges. Joining forums or connecting with other care workers on LinkedIn groups was, and is, a great way of sharing ideas and talking about the problems they were/are facing.
Provide support to care staff
Management teams have explored the ways they can provide as much support as possible to staff, who are facing the biggest challenge of their careers. With limited face-to-face meetings taking place, frequent and regular communication is key, to help support workers overcome hurdles and ask for advice where needed. As well as talking about work-related subjects, managers have scheduled regular calls with their teams to also check on their overall welfare.
Online team meetings have been a good way to give support workers the chance to connect with their colleagues and still feel part of the team, even if they are not working as closely together as they used to, due to social distancing measures.
Leaf Complex Care provides expert support to people with complex care needs, incorporating all of the necessary adjustments required due to COVID-19. We provide complex care services across the Exeter and Bristol areas, so get in touch if you would like to find out more about the services we provide.